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Win 7 Product Key does not match Win 7 SKU

    Question

  • I recently purchased a used Toshiba laptop at an auction of county government merchandise.   This HDD has been reformatted, thereby erasing the OS.   A label on the front of the laptop indicates that it previously contained Win7.  The Certificate of Authenticity gives me the Product Key.  I have tried to install Win 7 pro from a DVD and Win 7 Ultimate from a downloaded ISO.  Both installations resulted in the error message: "Win 7 Product Key does not match the Win 7 SKU".

    My first question: Is the Product Key that came with this laptop still valid for use with this laptop, or must I purchase a brand new copy of Win7?

    My second question (assuming the PKey is still valid):  How can I find out what edition (Home, Pro, Ultimate, etc.) the Product Key matches?  The Cert of Authenticity does not disclose the edition.   Similarly, how can I find out whether the previous install was a x86 (i.e. 32bit) or a 64bit version of Win7?

    My third question:   I understand Microsoft's desire to combat piracy, but why must they make everything so damn complicated?

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 7:57 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    the COA sticker usually states the edition of Windows, but it be abbreviated e.g. Win7 HP OA (Windows 7 Home Premium OEM Activation).

    e.g. The product key on the COA won't successfully activate a Professional edition, if the pkey is for Home Premium (as an example).

    You can use a Retail (Full Packaged Product) DVD, with the pkey on your sticker.
    You can also purchase a set of recovery discs from Toshiba to suit your model.
    You may also contact Toshiba support to ask them which edition of Windows your model originally shipped with.

    Refurbished/pre-loved computers can get complicated because of this. Many manufacturers no longer provide recovery discs in the package, instead, they often provide an "on-disk" method to create/burn recovery discs, or to create USB recovery stick.
    These "on-disk" methods, store the image file on a hidden partition on the HDD, so when the HDD is wiped by some utility, the recovery image partition is often destroyed.
    It's also common for business/government to wipe the HDD before deployment of the computer, so they apply a company/department custom image, and, that custom image cannot be used outside the company/department, so they wipe the HDD when they dispose of the computer.
    Unfortunately this information is rarely disclosed during the disposal/auction.


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable.
    This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 8:20 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    the COA sticker usually states the edition of Windows, but it be abbreviated e.g. Win7 HP OA (Windows 7 Home Premium OEM Activation).

    e.g. The product key on the COA won't successfully activate a Professional edition, if the pkey is for Home Premium (as an example).

    You can use a Retail (Full Packaged Product) DVD, with the pkey on your sticker.
    You can also purchase a set of recovery discs from Toshiba to suit your model.
    You may also contact Toshiba support to ask them which edition of Windows your model originally shipped with.

    Refurbished/pre-loved computers can get complicated because of this. Many manufacturers no longer provide recovery discs in the package, instead, they often provide an "on-disk" method to create/burn recovery discs, or to create USB recovery stick.
    These "on-disk" methods, store the image file on a hidden partition on the HDD, so when the HDD is wiped by some utility, the recovery image partition is often destroyed.
    It's also common for business/government to wipe the HDD before deployment of the computer, so they apply a company/department custom image, and, that custom image cannot be used outside the company/department, so they wipe the HDD when they dispose of the computer.
    Unfortunately this information is rarely disclosed during the disposal/auction.


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable.
    This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 8:20 PM
  • Contact Toshiba Support and request their Windows recovery media.

    Carey Frisch

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013 6:54 AM
  • Thanks Carey for the helpful advice.  Also, thanks to Don Pick.

    However, I discovered that there is a less expensive possibility for recovering Win 7, rather than paying Toshiba US$30, which is the amount it charges for a 'recovery disk'.

    All I had is the Product Key and serial number for my Toshiba laptop, which had a  blank hard drive.  I proceeded to Toshiba's support website--as you recommended, and, when prompted, I entered the serial number of my used Toshiba Satallite.   After entering much more information, you finally reach the webpage that requests payment.  That payment page also discloses the edition of Win 7 which matches your serial number and product key (Win 7 Home Premium 32-bit, in my case).   With that knowledge, I was able to go to Microsoft's Win 7 recovery disc site and download the appropriate copy (Home Premium, 32-bit) of their recovery disk, which comes in ISO format, without charge.   That ISO has to be burned to a DVD or flash/thumb drive to be used for installing Win 7.   It worked for me and a successful installation and activation has been confirmed.

    By using Microsoft's free ISO recovery mechanism, rather than Toshiba's $30 recovery disk on DVD, I not only saved some money, I also saved time and skipped all the otherwise unavoidable 'bloat material' that I am sure is included on the Toshiba DVD.



    • Edited by ltopliss Wednesday, November 20, 2013 7:33 PM
    Wednesday, November 20, 2013 7:27 PM